Free speech for social workers

A would-be social worker who doesn’t think gays should be foster parents has won her free-speech case at Missouri State, reports the Kansas City Star. Emily Brooker refused to sign a letter written by her social work professor supporting gays as foster parents, saying it violated her Christian beliefs, the law suit alleged. Brooker agreed to do a project on a different subject.

According to the lawsuit, a grievance filed against Brooker claimed she violated three standards that are to be maintained by students in the School of Social Work: diversity, interpersonal skills and professional behavior. Brooker was told her religious beliefs conflicted with the National Association of Social Workers’ code of ethics. As a condition for graduation, the lawsuit alleged, Brooker was made to sign a contract requiring her to conform to that code even though she objected to the contract.

Brooker got $9,00 and two free years of graduate school. The professor “voluntarily gave up his post as director of the master of social work program and was reassigned to nonclassroom duties.” MSU President Michael) Neitzel will “evaluate Missouri State’s social work program and do a more effective job implementing university policies on freedom of speech and expression on campus,” the Star reports. A quick and complete cave-in.

Update: Academic dishonesty is another issue, writes Eugene Volokh.

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  1. Wayne Martin says:

    A WEB-search kicked out the following:


    The first 20 pages provide a chilling look at the inner-workings of what seems to be a Kafka-esque university setting.

    The frequent comments of posters about left-wing agendas being crammed down college/university student’s throats is demonstrated in spades, if every thing in this complait were to be true.

    Missouri State University System President
    Dr. Michael T. Nietzel
    Carrington Hall, Room 201
    901 South National Avenue
    Springfield, MO 65897
    Voice: (417) 836-8500
    Fax: (417) 836-7669

    Kauffman, Frank G
    Professional Building 206 Office address: 901 S. National Ave.
    Springfield, MO 65897
    Office phone: (417) 836-7691

  2. The mind continues to boggle. This is a state school. Have they NEVER heard of the First Amendment?!

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I’ll drink to that.
    Never give up hope that reason will ultimately prevail.

  4. Let’s not celebrate too much. Diligence, it is said, is the price we must continually pay for our freedoms.

  5. The school definitely went overboard in the manner in which it denied Brooker due process, and attempted to force her to sign petitions and letters with which she didn’t agree.

    However, my sympathy for a social worker who refuses to place children with gay couples because of her religious beliefs is nonexistent. Just as it is for physicians who refuse to prescribe birth control or Plan B, and pharmacists who refuse to fill the orders. Hello, you’re serving the public. You are not there to impose your “morals” on the rest of us. Go find another profession, kthx.

    There are so many kids suffering in abusive homes, or bouncing from one foster home to another. I guess that in the eyes of someone like Ms. Brooker, living with heterosexual meth dealers or crack addicts is preferable to being taken in by a pair of well-educated and law-abiding sodomites. IOW, her “morals” trump the actual, physical well-being of the children she wants to “serve.”

  6. Ms. Brooker did not say that she would not follow state law regarding gay and lesbian foster or adoptive homes. She indicated that she would not promote it by signing a letter indicating that this was appropriate. Christians care about ALL people, but do not condone ALL behavior. Christians also are to follow the law.
    Let’s say that a child needed to be placed in a foster home due to the extreme illness of the mother who is near death and the abusivness of the father related to being a meth dealer. The mother is an evangelical Christian and does not want her child placed with a gay/lesbian partners. Let’s hope state law will continue to honor the mother’s wishes.